Wake up to the smell of…yeah, you got it (and if you haven’t, get it now).
With few of life’s pleasures more satisfying than a flavorsome coffee first thing in the morning, for me choosing the right machine is tantamount to – shall we say with but a tiny tad of exaggeration – ‘earthly happiness.’
But with so many alternatives out there, choice wasn’t easy.
Not only is it compact, light and easy-to-use but, with a stylish black and silver finish, it has an attractive design and looks hip as a stand-alone ornament on a shelf in my open-style kitchen. The machine’s size also makes for convenient cleaning. Not being a‘disassemble-and put- together’ kinda guy (sorry Mister IKEA), I found it easy to break it down into parts and slip them into my dishwasher. Being prone to messes (feed me spaghetti at your peril), getting rid of the milk residue after making cappuccinos and lattes was also a cinch. Cleaning the carafe holding it is achieved at the touch of a button.
Not that I drink gallons of coffee a day (close though) but a removable one-litre water tank made for easy (perhaps too easy) refilling.
The Nespresso Latissima is also a fast worker. Realizing time is of the essence – after all, there’s nothing more frustrating after waking groggy after a night on the tiles and having to wait a month for coffee to percolate – Latissima has what is termed a high 19-bar pump pressure and advanced thermoblock heating system, meaning the machine is ready to use in just 40 seconds. It also features an adjustable drip tray allowing one to use one’s favourite mug or glass (personally, I use anything that’s handy, including my toothbrush holder if desperate). Its automatic ejection collection tray accommodates 11 capsules (enough for an hour of utterly reckless indulging).
Not being a gizmo-guy, I was also delighted to find that there are only four individual buttons for me to push depending on whether I want short or long espressos or the same in cappuccinos or lattes, and they have illuminated keys (most helpful for those forgettable dark mornings -most of them in my case) when propping one’s eyes open is an exercise in futility. For the latter two, a patented ‘Single Touch’ system means I had my frothy beverage at the touch of a button. Easy-peasy. You can even personalize the machine so it remembers the way you like your drink, every time (with one exception, Irish coffee – one day perhaps).
Of course, that is all well and good, but the real litmus test is the quality of beverage the machine produces. De’Longhi doesn’t disappoint. With such an impressive array of capsule flavors – probably one to suit every taste, unless you’re really, really, really impossibly picky – how could it not?
If intensity tickles your tonsils, don’t fret. ‘Kazaar,’ with an intensity of 12 on the coffee Richter scale, will do the trick. A blend of two Robustas from Brazil and Guatemala, it produces a powerful bitterness and notes of pepper balanced by a full, creamy texture. If you like your coffee mellow, try the ‘Dulsao,’ a combo of roasted yellow and red Brazilian Bourbon beans that nudges 5 on the scale. With its sweet notes of malt, honey and maple syrup, it creates a roundness on the palate. Then again, if you prefer your coffee with a hint of citrus, there’s always ‘Cosi,’ (3), a blend of lightly-roasted East African, Central and South American Arabicas.
And finally, for chocolate lovers (aren’t we all, c’mon now kiss and tell, there’s nothing to be ashamed of), try the ‘Ciocattino,’ a 6 on the scale. It’s also a blend of Central and South American Arabicas, found in Costa Rica and Colombia, but this time medium-roasted. This is where dark and bitter chocolate notes meet the caramelized roast of the Livanto Grand Cru. And guilt is not even on the ingredient list.
All in all then, the Nespresso EN520 Latissima coffee-maker and accompanying capsules provide me with a slice of ‘earthly happiness’ and at a very reasonable price, with little or no fuss.
While satisfaction is not guarantee, it is inevitable. Ahh!